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Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states.
More troops have been ordered in following a series of deadly attacks by Islamist militants.
The Boko Haram sect, which is fighting to overthrow the government, is said to have intensified its campaign this month.
A state of emergency has been declared in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
“The Chief of Defence Staff has been directed to immediately deploy more troops to these states for more effective internal security operations,” said Jonathan.
“The troops and other security agencies involved in these operations have orders to take all necessary action, within the ambit of their rules of engagement, to put an end to the impunity of insurgents and terrorists.”
Islamist groups have become the biggest threat to stability in Africa’s second biggest economy and top oil exporter.
Boko Haram fighters freed over 100 prison inmates and left 55 people dead In the town of Bama last week.